Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Boko Haram: A Tale of Silent Conspirators

Abdul Qaqa - Boko Haram spokesman

Over a decade ago, my "place of origin", Sagamu, was going through a difficult period with armed gangs running wild and free. Sagamu was a no-go area for visitors, and business activities were at an all time low. The Security agencies and the government of the day were also at their wits end. The last straw was when the son of a high chief, The Lisa of Remo, was killed. The indigenes of Sagamu, led by the elders, held a series of meetings and a vigilante movement was born. These guys swung into action, gave a one-week ultimatum for all known robbers to leave the town. On the expiration of this window, they carried out a series of raids and extra judicial killings. Sometimes criminal sons were brought out in front f their mothers and summarily killed, etc. Families and neighborhoods, on their own, started house cleaning, banishing their kinfolk from Sagamu and reporting those recalcitrant ones to the vigilante group. Eventually, Sagamu's peace was slowly restored and the vigilante remained to this day. Though in recent times, they have been used as political tools, the people of Sagamu still prefer the current situation to what we had years ago. 

Now back to Boko Haram and the North. You all know their story and the trail of destruction and blood they have left on indigenes and non-indigenes of the North, Churches, government apparatuses and not too long ago - the Emir of Kano! If the attack of the Emir did not signal the watershed for Boko Haram, I don’t know what else can. The North has never been known to be docile, especially in areas of using force and exercising militia related power. Recall the counter coups, the pogroms, Zangon Kataf, etc.? Organized mass outrage has never been lacking in this region. That the person of the Emir of Kano was attacked and all the Northern leaders and opinion makers remained un-moved tells a very grave story of mass complicity. This is what Boko Haram feeds on. And I think those silent onlookers also know what their end goal is...and it is shared.

While the intent of this is not to preach violence or reprisal attacks, the key stakeholders, the citizens and elders have to get up and do something before this consumes their way of life as they know it.

My tuppence.



  1. Please lets hear your opinion on this issue. Use the comment as window below, and either use the "name/url" option (forget the URL) or use your google sign on...
    Lets talk guys. This is the most pressing issue in the country right now. A clear and present threat.

  2. This Boko Haram issue is not making sense anymore. Initially the thinking was that it was borne along religious lines only though not excusable but understandable. But bombing the emir's palace makes me to start scratching my head. Conspiracy theorists would say it could be a self inflicted wound, one that draws sympathy and in the process absolves him of any form of complicity. The social psychologist would probably say maybe a deranged psychopath who just discovered the art of bomb making on the Internet and is fascinated by it is on the lose. Or maybe its the new way of settling scores with you adversaries, who knows. Whatever the case is, a determined government has the capacity to get to go bottom of it. Self cleansing did not work in the past. Am not sure you saw the video circulating the Internet like 3yrs ago when the military rounded up 100s of young men and executed them in broad daylight. That option is what Sagamu adopted and worked with Sagamu but it has not worked on Boko Haram. Jonathan should parley with countries that have had similar issues in the past and find out how they dealt with it instead of granting pardons to people who have already been pardoned. What a joke of a Government!!!

  3. My opinion...YES!!. I dont know much about Boko Haram but I can say what i know and have experienced. but before i continue, i understand the fact the problems and challenges differ in magnitude and complicity however the common factor is that they are all unwanted and definitely hampers development and progess. i remember, in 1995-2002, that period, i was living in Onitsha during the Bakassi Boys era. Prior to the emergence of these Vigilantes, Onitha was a no-go area. People were killed and robbed on daily basis. the authorities didnt help matters (dont want to delve into that...funny). but the bottom line is...the people said it was enough cos people were no longer coming to buy things from Onitsha thereby slowing down the economy of the town. first of all, it was the OMATA boys,that started hunting down the marauders. many of the OMATA Boys lost their lives and they were kind of over-powered by the hoodlums.then came the Bakassi Boys and the rest is history. It was a known thing in Onitsha, to expect heaps of burnt, charred corpses at every popular junction. i also remember, as a student of st. Charles College Onitsha, participating in a student rampage to hunt for criminals that terrorize us. Like i said earlier, Problems and Crisis differ in Magnitude and Complicity but it takes the people to refuse and reject the harbingers of destruction.there will be collateral damage but...THE PEOPLE need to stand up and against who ever that brings destruction to them

  4. Now here is the thing: the people of Kano expose those who are in BH, but not Maiduguri. Why? The ethnic factor. Kanuris have some sort of omerta-like solidarity, they will never expose their own. On the other hand, the Hausa of Kano are businessmen and they abhor anything that will affect their business.
    Worse is the fact that most Kanuri ppl have been deceived that the JTF are entirely Christian and sponsored by CAN (yeah, i know. stupid, right?). I was once in a taxi and we saw a soldier praying the Muslim prayer and the man next to me exclaimed, "And we were told they were all Christians."
    The only way out is to replace the JTF with entirely Kanuri soldiers. Then they will be forced to choose between their Kanuri BH brothers and their Kanuri JTF soldiers.
    Although on the general, there is a lack of ownership of the problem of BH in the North, but in particular, this is one i see with regards to them fighting it themselves